Wednesday 29 April 2020

Another completed craft project - mini Christmas cross stitch kit

I know that Christmas is a long way away yet, but in my unfinished craft project pile I have a number of Christmas related crafts. Carrying on with my intention to complete an unfinished project each month this year, for the month of April I present my Christmas mini cross stitch kit!

I bought this kit in Hobbycraft a couple of years ago. Hobbycraft sell a lot of mini cross stitch kits, and they are usually temptingly placed in crates alongside the checkout, reasonably priced and often additionally as part of a three for two deal. When stitched they measure about 8cm across, so they are a good size to use in a card. This design features some woolly mittens inside a festive wreath.

Mini Christmas cross stitch kit from Hobbycraft

I have a few of these completed cross stitch pictures, and I never know what to do with them when they are completed. So I decided to buy a frame for it and mount the cross stitch onto some felt for a background. I stitched around it with some of the leftover pink thread from the kit. I'll put it away now until Christmas, and then I'm looking forward to displaying it along with my larger Christmas cross stitch sampler.

Mini Christmas cross stitch kit completed

This was a very quick project, but don't worry I've still been continuing my crafting on other projects! I've just started a new diamond painting which is very large - it depicts Starry Night by Van Gogh and may well feature later this year as one of my unfinished projects. I'm also working very hard on my cross stitch map. I've made a huge amount of progress since the picture below and I'm very excited to share it with you when I've done a bit more to it!

Cross stitch map by Suck UK just started

Wednesday 15 April 2020

My lockdown crafting projects

Our abrupt end to school in mid-March was followed by several weeks of high anxiety, trying to juggle homeschooling with work, and getting used to all the worry inducing changes around us. But over the last couple of weeks I've finally managed to calm myself down a bit and I've been trying to make the most of spending more time at home and having a bit more time to devote to my crafting and hobbies.

My goal for this year was to complete one unfinished craft project each month, and I'm already ahead of myself with April's craft completed. So to fill my time I've been working on a couple of longer term craft projects that I like to keep up in the background, and I thought I'd share them here.

My first is the cross stitch map (affiliate link) which I've been working on for couple of years now. I quickly stitched in the countries that I've visited, then discovered that there was a huge amount of white space left around the map which looked a bit bare and empty. So I decided to fill in the gaps with smaller pictures that represent things that I've seen on my travels with a sort of patchwork effect, partially inspired by the wall of postcards at my doctor's surgery! I'm very much making it up as I go along, but I'm pretty pleased with the effect so far.

I've already shared a couple of my smaller designs over here on the blog - the cross stitch cruise ship and the cross stitch Disney inspired castle. It's a bit of a mish mash but hopefully it will become a bit more cohesive as I add in more and more pictures. I have the next design drawn out for an anchor and some waves, and next I'm going to start filling in some of the smaller areas of sea with different shades of blue, as well as adding in some more of the borders. I'm intending for the whole piece to be fully stitched apart from the countries that I have yet to visit, so there's plenty of work to do yet!

Cross stitch map of my travels in progress

I've also made a start on my new diamond painting kit. This kit is Van Goghs Starry Night by Diamond Dotz (affiliate link). I bought it on holiday in the US last year, but it is readily available over here from Amazon and Hobbycraft. It's a large kit, about 50cm by 40cm, and as you can see I've still got plenty left to do. I enjoy diamond painting, it's very easy and relaxing. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the finished picture when it's done but it will be lovely and sparkly and I love the colours, all different shades of blue and purple.

Van Gogh Starry Night diamond painting kit

Finally, one of my ten things to do in 2020 was to complete one hundred days of something, and this seemed like a good opportunity to find the time without interruptions from holidays or days out. I was inspired by the official 100 Day Project, although I'm a couple of days ahead of everyone else this year as I was so keen to get started! 

I decided that I wanted to try drawing and painting. I started off with some pencil sketches but they were very bad, so I started adding colour using a box of old but good quality watercolours that I bought a long time ago. I never learned how to use them properly at the time, so I've been watching a few tutorials and just getting used to them and how they work.

Here are my latest two pages, I don't pretend that they are any good whatsoever but I'm only nine days in so there is plenty of time to improve! I'm finding the colour mixing and the actual painting really relaxing, and it has felt good to carve out half an hour or so for myself every day to work on it.

First attempts at watercolour painting

I just hope that I'll still have plenty of time to devote to my crafting when the homeschooling starts back up next week!

Friday 10 April 2020

Planting seeds for the garden

Since the children finished school three weeks ago, we've been spending a lot of time in the garden. I can't believe how beautiful the weather has been, and we are very lucky to have an outdoor space that we can enjoy without having to leave home.

As I was looking around the garden last week, it suddenly struck me that not only were my parents not going to be able to come over and visit to set up our vegetable patch, and also that I had hardly any seeds in the house and all the garden centres are shut. On my weekly shop to Asda I managed to pick up some sweet pea and cucumber seeds, but I really wanted a bit more of a selection.

Cucumber seedlings in pots inside

On Sunday afternoon, I searched for somewhere online to order seeds. Obviously the entire country is wanting to buy seeds at the moment - many places were out of stock and I had to wait twenty minutes just to enter the Suttons website. But I was pleased to be able to put together an order from a fast track selection which arrived a few days later including a free pack! I decided to stick with flower seeds rather than the bedding plants that I normally buy as I didn't want to put too much pressure on the postal service, so I hope that some of the flowers grow nicely for me!

Seedlings growing on the windowsill

Now I'm running out of small pots to start the seeds off in, so I'm having to get a bit creative. When it comes to planting out the new seeds I'm going to be using various margarine and yoghurt pots that I've been saving, and hoping that I have enough space on my sunny windowsills to get them going!

The actual garden is looking quite bare at the moment, but so far my sweet pea and cucumber seedlings are coming on nicely, and the vegetable patch and beds have been dug over and are ready to receive them when they are a bit bigger.

Selection of seed packets

As long as the weather holds I think that we'll be spending a lot of time in the garden over the next few months, so although we can't do anything drastic by ourselves I'm hoping that I can do my bit to make it a cheerful space to relax and play in.

Thursday 9 April 2020

What carpet to choose for a child's room?

This is a collaborative post

A correctly selected carpet will make the nursery beautiful and, no less important, comfortable for the life of the child. When choosing a carpet for the nursery, one should pay attention to several basic aspects described in this article.

The Composition of the Carpet 

When choosing a rug in a child’s room, it is especially important to pay attention to the composition of the carpet product. It is the composition of the carpet that determines its safety for a growing organism, as well as indicators of wear resistance.

There are two main compositional options: carpets made of natural materials and synthetic carpets.

Natural carpets, that is, woolen, silk or knitted, are an excellent choice due to the durability of such a product, as well as the lack of synthetics, which for many is one of the main arguments in its favor. It should be understood that in case of exposure to allergies, just a wool carpet will cause harm to the health of the child. Despite its longevity, natural carpets are difficult for steam cleaning and do not tolerate moisture. As a result, they are not very suitable for children over three years of age, whose active games will quickly leave their marks on the carpet.

Synthetic carpets are a good choice for a child’s room for several reasons. The lack of wool in such carpets is great for children who are allergic. At the same time, the practicality of synthetic carpets is undeniable, since they are much better at cleaning from stains - a very important property for a children's room. An important fact is also a much lower price than natural carpets, which will allow you to refresh the interior of a nursery with a new carpet without regrets in a few years: children grow quickly, and their tastes also change!

Child playing with toys on a carpet
Photo credit Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Carpet in the Kids Room: Proper Carpet Cleaning Techniques 

A very important point in carpet care is cleaning. The process of domestic carpet cleaning must combine efficiency and safety. Quite often, preparations are not environmentally friendly, and those that comply with environmental standards are ineffective. Particularly acute question of choice of cleaning products arises if necessary, to clean the carpet in the nursery.

How to make it as safe as possible and with a good result? The best way is to use recommended carpet cleaning companies, but not everyone has such an opportunity. At home, you can use the following tips:

It is worth mentioning that carpets for children room are made of polypropylene: they are convenient and safe to clean with baking soda. To do this, you can scatter the powder with rubbing movements, then wait 20-30 minutes and collect with a vacuum cleaner. Effectively use soda solution. To this end, 100 grams of soda should be dissolved in 5 liters of water. Then you need to spray the product, but make sure that the carpet is not too wet, let it dry, vacuum, and on both sides.

A typical problem for kids’ room is smashed chewing gum on the carpet. The best chewing gum carpet cleaner is ice. Wrap a cold generator or ice cube in a plastic bag, attach it to the stain and hold until it hardens. After that, it can be gently pry and removed from the pile. So in this case, you don’t even need a carpet cleaner. By the way, they do the same in removing traces of paraffin or wax. Proper care of children's carpets will create the necessary hygienic conditions, preserve their appearance and extend their life.

What is the Best Domestic Carpet Cleaning Method? 

Let's say right away: the best tool for carpets is to use professional carpet cleaning, where specialists will clean the coating with the most effective and safe means for it. However, we understand that carpet cleaning is equally required for both a small carpet in the living room and carpet fixed with furniture. For that reason, you can take advantage of steam carpet cleaning services, offered by many cleaning companies in London. The deep carpet cleaning experts will come to the given by you address and will perform the carpet steam cleaning procedure. It will take only 2-3 hours and you will enjoy a brand new looking carpet, free of stains, spots and bacteria!

Vacuum on a carpet
Photo credit The Creative Exchange via Unsplash

Thursday 2 April 2020

Free small cross stitch cruise ship design pattern

Free cross stitch cruise ship pattern design

As I write this post, I should have been on a cruise ship somewhere in the Bahamas. Of course that wasn't to be, so I've been consoling myself by adding a cross stitch cruise ship to my cross stitch map. I received my cross stitch map a few years ago and I love it! It's a large piece of cross stitch fabric with a map printed over it, and the idea is that you stitch over the countries as you visit them. It's a really good idea, but if you don't visit any of the really large countries like Russia or China, along with all the blank spaces around the edges it can be left looking a little bit bare.

So I've been busy coming up with different designs to fill in around the edges, with the aim of making a sort of patchwork of different pictures which are themed to fit in with places that we've visited around the world. I already have a lucky cat from Hong Kong, a cross stitch Disney castle, and I'm currently working on the Statue of Liberty. 

This cross stitch cruise ship is supposed to be a sort of amalgamation of the different cruise ships that we've travelled on, and it's designed to be quite small so it would also fit neatly onto a gift card or as a small framed picture.

Free cruise ship cross stitch design pattern

Here it is stitched in position on my cross stitch map! I'm busy working hard on this map at the moment, I find that cross stitch is a very relaxing and distracting hobby at the moment. I'm really pleased with how the map is taking shape, and I'll be sharing it in a full blog post in the not too distant future!

Cruise ship cross stitch on a travel themed cross stitch map